The relationship between The Walking Dead and its fans is so dysfunctional.
There are those who have given up on season 7 of the zombie drama — hence the drop in ratings each week since the season kicked off — but what is even more telling is the number of diehard fans who keep watching and complaining about the sluggish pace.
Is this hate-watching or wishful anticipation? Either way, that’s exactly what happened Sunday night with episode six, titled “Swear.”
Instead of an episode centered around Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Jesus (Tom Payne) ambushing the Saviors as last week’s promo insinuated, this installment caught up with Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Heath (Corey Hawkins), who have been on the road scavenging for food and supplies for two weeks.
Why does @WalkingDead_AMC insist on making whole episodes based on side characters while simultaneously wondering why ratings are dropping?
— R O I Z (@ROIZWON87) November 28, 2016
Needless to say, the bait-and-switch had some fans scratching their heads.
— CarrieTBow (@CarrieTBow) November 28, 2016
Here’s the thing: Some viewers actually appreciated the change in scenery and the emphasis on Tara and Heath’s ignorance about the Savior situation.
— M S R B (@__Mijito__) November 28, 2016
— Rick Grimes (@RickAndThangs) November 28, 2016
And that awesome sand trap of zombies, of course.
— Timmy (@tpleyson) November 28, 2016
But others were less sympathetic and really just wanted more action, more Alexandria and more plot resolution, especially because there are only two episodes left before the hiatus.
Probably the worst episode of #WalkingDead since Darryl collected all those ears while on the farm. Complete waste of an hour.
— TH3 N3RDSM4SH3R (@TH3_N3RDSM4SH3R) November 28, 2016
— PadmesLover (@PadmesLover) November 28, 2016
What kind of trash #TheWalkingDead episode is this? Some new spinoff? Did I fall asleep and it's 3 seasons in the future?
— Glenn Griffin (@rglenngriffin) November 28, 2016
For those who did give two hoots, there were some heady themes. Tara and Heath got into a debate, for instance, about whether or not the post-apocalyptic world is all about every man for himself. Tara said it wasn’t, and Heath said it was, but this episode proved time and time again that things aren’t so bleak. That’s why Heath ultimately tried to save Tara, Cyndie (Sydney Park) saved Tara at least three times, and Tara didn’t kill Beatrice (Briana Venskus).
Cyndie has saved Tara so much, Really liking her. #TheWalkingDead
— The Walking Dead (@TalkOfTheDead) November 28, 2016
i'll be honest i didn't think that episode would be good but damn tara proved me wrong and i'm so happy she did. #TWD
— alexa (@negansangel) November 28, 2016
Speaking of Cyndie and Beatrice, they live in a community of all women called Oceanside. It’s a place that has learned to shoot strangers and ask questions later and that — as we later learn — figured out a way to go off the grid to avoid Negan’s wrath and reach.
— Ashley McIntosh (@ashley4434) November 28, 2016
Yes, Cyndie is the only one who can shoot worth a darn, but this episode had strong feminist leanings and a message: Only women can outsmart Negan.
These people have worse aim than Stormtroopers #TheWalkingDead
— Christian (@Rainmaker1200) November 28, 2016
— #TWDFamily? (@RoseHart321) November 28, 2016
I think Tara has entered an alternate reality where everyone is a slightly different version of Carol. #TWD
— Jon-Phil Winter (@fonjil) November 28, 2016
In the end, Natania (Deborah May) wasn’t a sweet and harmless old grandma, and Beatrice and Tara are not going to become a hot road-trip couple because Beatrice tried to kill Tara again, this time on Natania’s orders. Thankfully, Cyndie saved Tara once more and outsmarted Beatrice and Kathy (Nicole Barre). Cyndie rocks and fans can’t wait to see more of her.
— Shaun Tai (@shaun_tai) November 28, 2016
— andrew lincoln (@walkign) November 28, 2016
So thanks to Cyndie, Tara got away and tried to find Heath. At one point she thought a black zombie with braids could be him. Thankfully, it wasn’t, but some folks weren’t amused.
— Lancestipher (@Lancestipher) November 28, 2016
Sadly, Tara doesn’t know what happened to Heath and neither do we. Making matters worse, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) welcomed Tara back to Alexandria with bad news about her dead girlfriend Denise (Merritt Wever), and Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) horrific death.
— manon| twd spoilers (@reedusrise) November 28, 2016
Despite all her grief, Tara kept her promise to Cyndie and didn’t tell Rosita (Christian Serratos) about Oceanside or its cache of guns. Nice, work, Tara. Nice work.
— NUFF$AID (@nuffsaidNY) November 28, 2016
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC